In an online briefing yesterday, Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, made official the country's plans to require a mandatory travel protection and emergency services program in November called Jamaica Cares. The cost of the mandatory protection will be $40 per traveler, according to Bartlett. 

The fee will cover case management, transportation logistics, evacuation, field rescue and repatriation for any medical emergencies during travel, including natural disasters such as hurricanes and COVID-19.

The Jamaica Cares program fee includes international health coverage of up to $100,000 per visitor traveling to and from Jamaica, and on-island health coverage up to $50,000.

Jamaica-bound visitors will receive an information packet and emergency contact details as they conclude their Travel Authorization application, a document now required prior to arrival. The fee will be included as part of the application. Participation in Jamaica Cares is required for all non-Jamaican passport holders as of Nov. 1.

The program will be managed by the Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Centre, a London-based organization that facilitates planning and preparation for crisis response issues. Bartlett is also the organization's founder and co-chairman. 

Traveler attitudes consistently show a willingness to pay for increased safety protections during travel. An international traveler sentiment survey, conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers, revealed safety is paramount in making travel decisions for which consumers are willing to pay. A Global Rescue survey of more than 2,200 frequent travelers found they agreed by wide margins (90+%) they would feel safer if they – and all travelers – had services and protections for medical emergencies, including COVID-19, and door-to-door emergent coverage. 

“If an emergency medical situation arises, including COVID-19, Global Rescue will support Jamaican authorities in executing established emergency action plans including: access to case management, transport logistics, evacuation and repatriation for any medical emergency, including COVID-19, and monitoring from diagnosis through repatriation,” said Dan Richards, CEO Global Rescue.